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Welcome to NSO 2011: New Horizons of Discovery

On May 18-21, 2011, the University of Wisconsin-Madison will proudly host the 27th annual National Science Olympiad Tournament. More than 7,000 students, educators, parents and volunteers are expected to attend from across the country.

Our campus and city truly reflect the tournament theme of "New Horizons of Discovery." In 2009, The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UW-Madison third nationally in the number of university-generated patents. ranked Madison the third best city for science and technology jobs. And The Princeton Review named UW-Madison one of the top 25 entrepreneurial campuses in the nation.

The university and city are excited to provide the perfect setting for a competition that emphasizes science, technology, engineering, and math excellence. We also want you to discover our beautiful campus external and city external. The university has many new facilities housing its wide array of academic majors external. National Science Olympiad competitors will experience many of these great facilities, including Union South external, The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery external, modern science buildings (ECB, ME, Microbial, Biochem, Genetics/Biotechnology, Pharmacy, Health Sciences, etc.) and the Kohl Center external where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held.

We hope you will come early to take advantage of the many tours, workshops, science career fairs and other activities we have planned. See for yourself why the University is a top-ranked institution and the city of Madison is recognized for offering a great quality of life. We want your visit to be informative, fun and memorable.

This website will be updated right up to the National Science Olympiad Tournament on May 21, 2011. All key tournament registration links will be live by January 2011. In the meantime, please continue visiting for updates.

Van Valaskey and Gary Graper
Co-tournament Directors

UW-Madison geneticist Joshua Lederberg won a Nobel Prize in 1958 after showing how bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics and that the bugs can swap genes-even between species.

Mass Production of Penicillin

During World War II countless lives were saved through the use of the antibiotic penicillin, a natur...


A judge measures the score of an entry in the Mousetrap Vehicle event at the 2010 Wisconsin State Science Olympiad Tournament hosted at UW-Madison.
Students celebrate at the awards ceremony during the 2010 Wisconsin State Science Olympiad Tournament hosted at UW-Madison.

Mass Production of Penicillin

During World War II countless lives were saved through the use of the antibiotic penicillin, a natural product of a mold. However, the drug became widely available only after a method was developed to mass-produce it from a selected and genetically altered strain of the mold. University of Wisconsin bacteriologist Kenneth B. Raper isolated a productive organism, botanist John F. Stauffer genetically modified it, and biochemists William H. Peterson and Marvin Johnson developed submerged fermentation techniques to produce penicillin in quantity. The early wholesale cost of 100,000 units dropped from twenty dollars to three cents by the end of the war.


June 16, 2011 - Awards Photos Posted
The awards photos have been posted. Browse through the photos more...
May 24, 2011 - Opening and Awards Ceremonies
Archived videos are now available for both the Opening Ceremony and more...

more annoucements >>

Tournament Updates

Update for Flying Bird
All teams planning to participate with the "flying bird" event should report half way through the co more...
Update for Battery Buggy

As we will be in a gymnasium like setting, there will be no established lane width. There will b more...

more updates >>

2011 Sponsors

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